Less than 24 hours removed from one of their worst losses of the season, the Boston Red Sox remain primed to enter the All-Star break with the best record in the American League as they close the first half against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Sox are an AL-best 55-35 entering the contest, trailing only the National League’s San Francisco Giants (56-32) in winning percentage. It’s a big accomplishment for a team expected to rebuild after a poor showing during 2020’s pandemic-shortened season.
“We’ve been doing a great job,” said Red Sox left-hander Martin Perez. “I think we’ve been pitching good. … If we continue to do that, we’re gonna get to October. We’ve just got to stay healthy and stay focused.”
Perez took the loss in an 11-2 rout Saturday that snapped Boston’s home winning streak at nine games. The Phillies scored eight runs in the eighth inning to return the favor after falling 11-5 in Friday’s series opener.
Right-hander Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53 ERA) gets the nod for Philadelphia in the rubber match of the interleague series. Righty Nick Pivetta (7-3, 4.09) will go for Boston against his former team.
A win Sunday would get the Phillies back to .500 as they look to stay relevant in the competitive NL East. The offense has been clicking, with 10 or more runs in three of the team’s last six games.
“We have everyone back, which is nice, and we had contributions from everyone up and down the lineup,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Two guys can’t carry a team. When you score runs, it’s nice.”
The Red Sox’s offense went cold in the setback, as it finished with only four hits. Xander Bogaerts hit a solo shot to snap a 20-game homerless stretch.
Another streak that ended was reliever Josh Taylor’s run of 26 scoreless outings. Taylor was shelled for four runs during Philadelphia’s eighth-inning outburst.
“That’s not really something I show up to the field worried about,” he said. “Just want to go into the game and do my job. I have a job to get the outs I need, and today I didn’t do that.”
Pivetta was a member of the Phillies from 2017-20 before he was traded to the Red Sox. He will face his former club for the first time.
The righty shut out the Oakland Athletics over seven innings last time out, giving up just two hits and striking out 10. The performance put him back in the win column after an 0-3 June with a 5.40 ERA.
Nola was victorious in his last start, surrendering four runs over six innings against the Chicago Cubs. He struck out eight to run his total to 31 over his last 16 innings.
Nola is 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four career starts against Boston.
The Red Sox will send third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Bogaerts, designated hitter J.D. Martinez and pitchers Matt Barnes and Nathan Eovaldi to the All-Star Game in Denver on Tuesday. Catcher J.T. Realmuto and starter Zack Wheeler will represent the Phillies.
–Field Level Media